We witness a period of increased species extinctions and biodiversity loss, not least as a consequence of human activities. Human-induced environmental changes increasingly challenge the adaptive potential of species and have already led to massive biodiversity loss, disturbed ecosystem functioning and concomitant compromised ecosystem services. Yet, humans strongly depend on many ecosystems and their services.
Increases of the human population and the individual ecological footprint only amplify the contrasts between human needs and biodiversity conservation. Humankind needs to face these challenges, which revolve around nature conservation and sustainable production methods. Our research is aimed towards these challenges through fundamental and applied research on ecosystem services and natural ecosystems, dynamics and evolution of endangered and invasive species, evolution in the face of climate change, and sustainable crop protection."
Key in our research approach is that empirical results are used to advance theory and to derive predictions that are tested in the lab, in greenhouses and in field sites around the world. Study organisms are insects, mites, amphipods, plants, fungi, eubacteria, and vertebrates such as primates and manta rays. Methods include (controlled) experimentation on population- and community level, mathematical modelling, software development, electrophysiological and behavioural assays, plant and animal life history characterization, and a range of quantitative methods (demographic tools, EAG and GC-EAD, QTL analysis, DNA-sequencing, gene expression, cloning and transformation, functional genomics and proteomics, GC-MS, HPLC-MS, animal focal sampling, GPS tracking and GIS analysis).